Watch: Daughter gets job at care home so she can see her dad during the pandemic
A daughter has got a job in a care home - so she can keep seeing her dad through the pandemic.
Nina Ambrose, 49, was “devastated” when lockdown rules meant she couldn't visit her father Roger, 77, who moved into a care home in January.
So when she was furloughed from her job, the former Butlins Redcoat applied to volunteer as an activities and events coordinator at her dad's care home.
Since April, Nina has been doing three shifts a week at the Chelmsford care home, and after each one she gets to visit her dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Mum-of-one Nina said: "Without this my mental health would absolutely have suffered during lockdown. It’s lovely and rewarding to do, gives me a routine, and I’ve been able to meet residents and staff at a time which has been very isolating for many.
“Plus I’m seeing that everyone’s dementia story and journey is different."
Former lorry driver Roger has had Alzheimer’s for 12 years, and has declined more severely in the past six months.
“It’s been very hard,” said Nina, who lives in Writtle in Essex. "Dad and I have always been very close, we’re like peas in a pod.
"Dad did a lot of volunteering himself after retiring."
Roger “reluctantly" moved into Manor Lodge care home in January and Nina went from being able to see him a few times a week, to not at all for five weeks.
After Nina was furloughed from her cosmetics job in April, she took up a post at the care home and continues to work there now.
Made redundant three weeks ago, she said her work organising activities and events for the residents has made her consider a new career in caring.
She said: "I love it. It makes the residents so happy, when I go in, they start clapping and saying, 'sing sing', and they remember all the old songs. Music has such a big impact on people with dementia.
"It’s been a massive game changer. I wouldn’t have considered doing this job before, but this has absolutely inspired me. I feel I’ve got so much to give. I love to make people happy and make them smile. I’d like to spread that joy around as far as I can by working each weekday in five different care homes."
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Nina is deeply moved that her dad’s story was selected out of 20 for the Empathy Museum, London.
She documents Roger’s journey through illness on her Instagram page @rantsandbigpants to help others in similar situations.
Before he moved into the care home, they used tech to preserve his independence, she described how she installed a camera and remotely guided him through making himself a cup of tea.
She said: “Don’t be scared; it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. You can tap into what made people happy and the activities they once enjoyed at whatever level they can enjoy them now.
“I tell Dad the same joke every week and he laughs his head off. People love mine and Dad’s story, they love that we laugh.
“I had so many fears about what Dad would become but I forewarned myself and these difficult stages are easier for that.”